Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame Reviews

Top Critic
Neil Young
Hollywood Reporter
May 18, 2012
Top Critic
Richard Nilsen
Arizona Republic
September 29, 2011
It is a peculiar conflation of history -- there really was an Empress Wu -- and pure cinematic fantasy.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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John Hartl
Seattle Times
September 26, 2011
By the end, with the running time pushing past the two-hour mark, it's reasonable to ask: Just who are these people?
| Original Score: 2.5/4
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Stephen Cole
Globe and Mail
September 23, 2011
Detective Dee is the action flick of the year, a two-hour epic that blows the Pirates of the Caribbean to the Bermuda Triangle.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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John DeFore
Washington Post
September 23, 2011
"Dee" doesn't shoot for the gravitas of Zhang Yimou's "Hero." It doesn't approach that film's magnificent sensory impact, either, or the artistic romanticism that made "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" such a success here.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Ben Sachs
Chicago Reader
September 22, 2011
Three decades into his career, Tsui Hark stands as one of the movies' great entertainers, displaying a dancer's sense of rhythm and movement and manipulating physical space with an abandon worthy of Chuck Jones.
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Linda Barnard
Toronto Star
September 22, 2011
A colourful carnival of relentless action and artful images.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
September 22, 2011
Is it possible for Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame to be any more riotously over-the-top than it is?
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Mark Feeney
Boston Globe
September 22, 2011
It's slambang in pacing, bald in exposition, and offers cast-of-hundreds spectacle.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
September 22, 2011
A bewitching fantasy.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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G. Allen Johnson
San Francisco Chronicle
September 15, 2011
If nothing else, the film is colorful.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Kevin Thomas
Los Angeles Times
September 2, 2011
Chang Chia-lu's intricate script bristles with wit and suspense; the film from start to finish is a terrific entertainment.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Eric Kohn
indieWIRE
September 2, 2011
Hark delivers a highly enjoyable alternative to Western blockbusters by simply keeping the narrative in flux with a series of well-executed sequences -- a cinema of distraction, if you will.
Full Review | Original Score: B
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V.A. Musetto
New York Post
September 2, 2011
All this is loads of fun, but after a while sensory overload sets in, dulling the mind. Even in a kung-fu flick, more isn't always better.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News
September 2, 2011
Director Tsui Hark sets expansive melodrama against flamboyant sets, and the all-star cast is up for even the most outlandish of Sammo Hung's action choreography.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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John Anderson
Wall Street Journal
September 1, 2011
Some of the action in "Detective Dee" is computer-generated hallucination, some is just good-old life-threatening stunt work, but it is almost always a thrill.
Top Critic
A.O. Scott
New York Times
September 1, 2011
Witty but not campy, grand without being unduly somber, it is a crazy, almost-coherent riot of intrigue, color and kineticism anchored by the charisma of its cast.
| Original Score: 4/5
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Richard Corliss
TIME Magazine
September 1, 2011
We'd call it Crouching Tiger, Freakin' Masterpiece.
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Noel Murray
AV Club
September 1, 2011
What makes Detective Dee worthy of Hark is that the action is always thematically justified, underscoring who our champion is.
Full Review | Original Score: B
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Keith Uhlich
Time Out
August 31, 2011
The film becomes more deliriously nonsensical by the moment, which is part of its intermittent charms...
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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J. Hoberman
Village Voice
August 30, 2011
Magnificent and cheesy, the latest and most proudly absurd of Chinese historical spectaculars, Detective Dee is a cinematic comic book for people who are sick of the mode.
Top Critic
Justin Chang
Variety
August 29, 2011
An inventive marriage of ancient China and Agatha Christie.
Top Critic
Deborah Young
Hollywood Reporter
August 29, 2011
Breathtaking sets and effects give this youthful martial arts film a modern air.